Apple and Samsung still lead the fight for the throne of smartphone sales, with the latter already at the top. But, there have been changes to the number three, four, and five spots – Chinese manufacturers significantly climbed up the scale in the last quarter of 2012, and Huawei, ZTE, and Lenovo have reached the top 5 in worldwide sales, making it clear that the Chinese market and other emerging economies play a key role.
According to the studies performed by the research firm Canalys, and later summarized by TechCrunch, this jump to higher positions is due both the consumption in China, which is one of the countries with the largest amount of cell phone users (for obvious reasons), and an increase in sales in developed and developing countries alike, where the three previously mentioned manufacturers are gaining ground and taking sales from Sony and Nokia, above all.
The growth of these companies is unparalleled, and only Lenovo has grown 216% yearly, becoming the likes of a cell phone legend, similar to BlackBerry, which now faces serious problems as it tries to update its brand image. Samsung, on the other hand, continues to grow, and this year alone has grown by 78%, distancing itself even more from Apple.
On another note, Android sales have increased by 69%, while its market share has decreased a little in comparison to last year’s fourth quarter, which showed a growth of 74%. Apple is still number two, with 22% of the market share, making the iPhone one of the best-selling individual products, reaching 11% of total sales.
The fact that China is one of the quickest-growing cell phone markets has been favorable, as you would expect, for its national products, but Samsung is still the best-selling overall. Smartphone sales grew in developing countries by 40% last year, but basic phones are still the most popular in places such as Brazil, Russia, and India.
Huawei, ZTE, and Lenovo have yet to make their mark in non-English speaking markets throughout the world, but it would not be surprising if throughout 2013 we start seeing devices that stand out for their high-quality features and low prices. Contracts with cell phone providers could make their rise to popularity a bit complicated, but sooner or later they’ll show up, just as they did in the U.S.